President, Des Moines Session, January 25-26-27, 1882
   The thirty-first president, Dr. Timothy J. Caldwell, was born July 21, 1837, in Vermillion County, Indiana, where he attended Newport Seminary. In September 1853 he came to Dallas County, Iowa, with his parents where for three years he worked on farms. He began reading medicine in 1856 and was graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Keokuk in February 1861.

He began to practice in Adel but soon entered the army as assistant surgeon, serving until the end of the Civil War, when he returned to Adel. The following winter Dr. Caldwell spent at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and he later completed a course at Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York.

In local and state politics, Dr. Caldwell exercised considerable influence and served both in the Iowa House of Representatives and Senate. In 1182 he was president of the Iowa State Medical Society, presiding at the Des Moines Session, January 25-27, 1882. The title of his presidential address was "Preventive Medicine."

Dr. Caldwell was married to Miss Melissa Vl. Baulsley of Dallas County, but a native of Indiana, on September 30, 1864. He died at Adel in 1906.

One Hundred Years of Iowa Medicine: Commemorating The Centenary of the Iowa State Medical Society 1850 - 1950
Publisher: Athens Press, Iowa City, Iowa

Transcribed by Conni McDaniel Hall 22 Jan 2021.


THE best read physician and surgeon in Dallas county, Iowa, and the most extensive practitioner, is Timothy Jourdan Coldwell, a graduate of two medical colleges. He comes from the farming class, his father, William Coldwell, living in Vermilion county, Indiana, when the son was born, on the 21st of July, 1836. The Coldwells are an old North Carolina family, extending into Virginia and Ohio, and States farther west. The grandfather of Timothy J. was a prominent Baptist minister; participated in some of the skirmishes with the Indians in Ohio, and built what is known in history as the Coldwell Block-house, located in Preble county. The maiden name of Timothy J's mother was Mary Jourdan, who was descended from Kentucky stock. Our biographical subject developed his muscle on an Indiana farm ; finished his literary education at the Newport Seminary, in his native county; came to Dallas county in 1853, and located eight miles from Adel ; aided his father three years in opening a farm; commenced reading medicine in 1856 with Dr. A. M. Nelson, of Wiscotta, in the same county; attended lectures in the medical department of the State University at Keokuk, now called the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and graduated in February, 1861.

Locating at Adel, Dr. Coldwell practiced here steadily until 1864, when he joined the Union army as assistant surgeon of the 23d Iowa Infantry, serving in that capacity until the close of the rebellion. Returning to Adel in the summer of 1865, after practicing a few months, he spent the following winter at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, and has since reaped the benefit of a thorough review of medical and surgical science. He has performed the surgery in Dallas county for the last ten or twelve years, and in special cases he visits adjoining counties. He bears a high reputation, and one which is on the increase.

Dr. Coldwell is a strong, unwavering republican, prepared at any time to give a reason for his political ethics. He is an Odd-Fellow and a Royal Arch Mason. His religious membership is with the Presbyterians. Dr. Coldwell married Miss Mellissa V. Maulsby, of Dallas county, on the 30th of September, i860. They have no children.

The doctor has one of the finest brick residences in Adel, and is in all respects a marked success. His physique is splendid. He has a full, ruddy complexion; a sanguine temperament; is five feet eleven and a-half inches tall ; is very compact, and weighs two hundred and seven pounds. His health is perfect. He obtained his medical education at his own expense, by zealous and untiring efforts, and now stands at the head of his profession.
The United States Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men. Iowa Volume. Chicago and New York; American Biographical Publishing Company. 1878.  Contributed by Nettie Mae Lucas, August 2018.

TIMOTHY J. CALDWELL, pioneer physician, was born in North Carolina, in 1839, growing to manhood on a farm and acquiring his early education in the common schools of his native State.  In 1853 he removed to Iowa, settling at Redfield in Dallas County, and three years later began the study of medicine.  Later he entered the Medical College at Keokuk, from which he was graduated in the class of 1861.  He located at Adel where he began to practice medicine.  In 1864 he was appointed surgeon of the Twenty-third Iowa Volunteer Infantry, serving until the close of the war.  He then spent a year in study at Philadelphia and another in Bellevue Hospital in New York.  In 1891 he took post-graduate work in New York and gave one winter to study at New Orleans.  He has served as president of the State Medical Society of Iowa.  In politics Dr. Caldwell is a Republican and in 1881 was elected Representative in the Nineteenth General Assembly.  At the close of his term he was elected to the Senate from the District composed of the counties of Audubon, Guthrie and Dallas, where he served by reelection in the Twentieth, Twenty-first, Twenty-second and Twenty-third General Assemblies.  Dr. Caldwell was president of the company which built the railroad from Waukee to Adel and has always been interested in the growth of his home town.

History of Iowa, Vol. 4, Biographical Sketches of Notable Iowa Men and Women

Iowa History Project

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